The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has brought to light why the governorship election in Southern Ijaw local government area of Bayelsa State was cancelled.
Speaking at a consultative forum with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the media to address issues around the recently conducted elections by the commission with special focus on the Bayelsa governorship election, held at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, he stated that the election was cancelled because of threat to the lives of the commission’s officials.
“Where there are threats to the lives of our officials, we wouldn’t mind applying the law that states that where that is feasible and it has made it impossible for elections to hold, we should cancel the election and re-run same another day. And that was the decision we took. We believe that our principal responsibility as a commission is to protect the lives of our staff, ad-hoc or permanent and also the election material,” he said.
The INEC Chairman also affirmed that the commission would not compromise the quality of elections simply because it wanted to conclude it, saying “No electoral body will like to go through a repeat of one election or the other. We will like to conclude all the elections on first ballot. Our principal responsibility is to conduct credible elections, not just elections by any means. We have to conclude elections according to the laws”.
“Both the security and political parties agreed that the election in Southern Ijaw which was cancelled due to reasons that the commission made public will now come up on January 9. Reason is that we also need to do some planning for the Southern Ijaw election. Remember, all our secret materials have been exposed and we cannot use the materials already committed for the last election,” he said.